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Reviews > Clothing > Underwear > MEC Capri top > Owner Review by Andrea Murland

MEC Capri Top (Women's)
Owner Review by Andrea Murland
May 6, 2010

The Capri in Germany

Tester Information

Name: Andrea Murland
Email: amurland AT shaw DOT ca
Age: 24
Location: Rossland, British Columbia, Canada
Gender: Female
Height: 5 ft 2 in (1.57 m)
Weight: 125 lb (57 kg)

I began hiking frequently in 2006 and have since hiked in Western Canada, Australia, and spent 2 months backpacking in the Alps. I spend most weekends either day-hiking or on 2-3 day backpacking trips, with some longer trips when I can manage them. I also snowshoe and ski in the winter, but don’t have a lot of experience with winter in the backcountry yet. Elevation is typically 500-3,000 m (1,600-10,000 ft), in the Canadian Rockies and the Selkirk, Purcell, and Monashee ranges. I try for a light pack, but I don’t consider myself a lightweight backpacker.

MEC Capri Top

Product Information

Manufacturer: Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC)
Manufacturer's URL: www.mec.ca
Year of Manufacture: Assumed 2008
Model: Capri Top (Women's)
MSRP: CAD $17.00
Colour Reviewed: French Blue
Other Colours Available: Black, Tutti Frutti
Sizes Available: XS, S, M, L
Size Reviewed: Small
Listed Weight: 129 g (4.5 oz) for size M
Measured Weight: 117 g (4.1 oz)

Description

The MEC Capri top is a lightweight tank top with a built-in shelf bra for low-impact activities. It has thin straps and a racer-back style, so the straps come between the shoulder blades. The material of the body is 86% nylon and 14% spandex, and the bra lining is 90% polyester and 10% spandex. The bottom of the bra lining has a strip of elastic that is 2.3 cm (0.9 in) wide. From the top of the shoulder to the bottom of the top is 51 cm (20.1 in). The top has a MEC logo on the left side at the hem, a printed label on the bra lining indicating the size and that it’s made in Canada, and a cloth tag on a side seam with the care instructions.

Field Conditions

My Capri top has been worn a lot for hiking and climbing. Even if I’m wearing layers for warmth, I usually have this top as my base layer just in case it gets warm enough to take off the layers on top. I received this top in early 2008 and have since worn it for about 16 day-hikes, 53 days of backpacking, 7 days of outdoor rock climbing, 20 indoor climbing sessions, and 10 yoga classes. It gets washed just about every time I do laundry... This top has been slept in about 35 nights while backpacking, and has also been used several times as an impromptu bathing suit at not-very-secluded mountain lakes. I have worn it in temperatures up to 40 C (104 F) and down to freezing, in sunshine, rain, sleet, and the odd snowstorm. My top has been washed a lot of times in the washing machine, but always hung to dry (it might have been through the dryer once or twice). It’s also been washed numerous times in sinks and streams, with and without soap.

Review

The MEC Capri top is my favourite piece of summer outdoor clothing. In fact, I love it so much that I just purchased a new one in the Tutti Frutti colour.

Comfort & Fit:
I have a 34 in (86 cm) bust (and am an A-cup), which is exactly what the size Small is supposed to fit. The top is fitted but not tight through the torso. The straps are the right length. I find the length of the top to be excellent. It’s not so long that I feel like I’m pulling it down to my knees, but it’s long enough that it doesn’t creep up above the hip belt on my backpack or my harness.

The exterior material is smooth and feels a bit like bathing suit material, and the bra lining is soft. The elastic in the shelf bra is noticeable when I first put the top on, but not tight, and is comfortable.

The top is very comfortable with a pack on. Since the straps are so narrow, most of my backpack straps are resting directly on my shoulders and upper back, but I don’t notice any discomfort from the top. I am a warm hiker, so I have always worn a tank top to hike in, and the pack straps on my bare shoulders don’t bother me. The Capri top is also very comfortable for climbing or other activities that require a lot of movement. Due to the racer-back style, my shoulders and arms are completely free to move, and the top has enough stretch that I don’t notice it pulling or restricting motion at all.

The front of the top is cut high enough to be decent, but low enough to not feel constricting. I think it’s the perfect height.

The support of the shelf bra is adequate for low- to medium-impact activities. Although I have worn it while running, it barely has enough support for me, and I prefer other tops for high-impact activities.

The back of the Capri top
Checking the map

Durability:
This top has impressed me. After two years of very heavy use, it’s still perfectly functional. Having said that, there are a few loose threads along the hem where the hip belt of my backpack sits, but none of them unravel when tugged. There is also some pilling on the exterior material where my hip belt sits, and pilling on the bra lining. The top has faded some, so is now a lighter blue than it was originally. There is some staining on the straps of the top – they have a permanent slight brownish tint from backpacking.

Doubling as a bathing suit
Cold Alpine Lake
Odour Management & Washing & Drying in the Field:
Overall, this top resists odours surprisingly well. I attribute that to it not covering the armpits or touching the neck. It still smells after a week of walking in it, though.

This top is easy to wash in a stream, sink, or lake. Dirt and sweat come out quite easily with some rubbing, which makes the top look cleaner. A rinse (with or without soap) helps with removing odours, but if the top is really, really smelly to start, it will still be smelly. It takes a few warm, soapy washes to remove two months of gradually accumulating odour. I have found that on week-long trips, a couple of rinses along the way makes this top my least smelly piece of clothing.

This top almost dries overnight. I find that the area with two layers (the bra lining and the exterior) is still damp in the morning when it’s been rinsed at night. However, once I get past the initial discomfort of putting on cold, damp clothing, it dries within an hour or so.

Summary

I love my MEC Capri top for low impact activities – hiking, climbing, and the odd yoga class. It’s comfortable and easy to move in, and doesn’t creep up above pack hip belts and harnesses.

Thumbs Up:
Comfortable
Light to moderate support
Washes easily
Length of top
Overall durability

Thumbs Down:
Pilling on bra lining and under hip belt
Staining on straps
Faded



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Reviews > Clothing > Underwear > MEC Capri top > Owner Review by Andrea Murland



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